Fight Fire With ... Electric Wands?

Devices could someday put out fires with electricity
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2011 5:09 PM CDT
Fight Fire With ... Electric Wands?
Firefighters may eventually use 'wands' to put out fires.   (Shutterstock)

A little piece of Hogwarts may someday be reality: firefighters could eventually replace their hoses with flame-snuffing wands, the Daily Mail reports. Scientists attached a 600-watt electrical amplifier to a wand that blasted a foot-high fire with electricity, and the flames were extinguished almost immediately, they announced at a conference this weekend. Even a weaker current would have an effect, said one.

The current, experts believe, shifts the position of the gases and particles that constitute the flame; the process can weaken or put out the fire entirely. Along with the wands, the idea could lead to electric “sprinklers,” a researcher notes—and unlike gushing water, these gadgets wouldn’t destroy property. But they won't exist for a few years, and even then, they’ll mainly be suited to “enclosed spaces,” the Mail notes; hoses will remain the weapon of choice against forest fires. (More firefighters stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.